Frank Lucas Dies at 88; Drug Kingpin Depicted in ‘American Gangster’

His demise was confirmed by his nephew Aldwan Lassiter in a phone interview.

Mr. Lucas’s survivors embrace 4 daughters, Francine Lucas-Sinclair and Ruby, Betty and Candace Lucas; two sons, Frank Jr. and Tony Walters; many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; two sisters, Mattie Lassiter and Emma Moye; and three brothers, Ezell, Lawrence and LeVon Lucas. His spouse, Julie, and one other son, Ray, died earlier than him.

Richard M. Roberts, who led the prosecution of Mr. Lucas in New Jersey, had befriended him lately however was underneath no illusions about what he did way back. “In reality,” Mr. Roberts informed The New York Instances in 2007, “Frank Lucas has in all probability destroyed extra black lives than the Okay.Okay.Okay. may ever dream of.”

Frank Lucas was born in La Grange, N.C., on Sept. 9, 1930, to Fred and Mahalee (Jones) Lucas. He had virtually no formal training, and as a boy he mugged drunks. At 15 he assaulted a person, stole $400 and fled to New York. He was quickly playing and promoting medicine in Harlem; his crimes later escalated to armed robberies.

He established road credibility in 1966 by capturing a notoriously powerful drug vendor on a crowded sidewalk 4 occasions within the head. “Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam!” he informed Mark Jacobson for a 2000 New York journal profile that was a foundation for “American Gangster.” He was by no means prosecuted for that crime, which he later denied committing.

However he had caught the attention of Ellsworth Johnson, who managed playing and extortion rackets in Harlem. Mr. Lucas claimed that Mr. Johnson, who was often called Bumpy, turned his mentor. Others disputed this. However after Mr. Johnson died in 1968, Mr. Lucas developed his profitable felony enterprise.

In accounts to the authorities, he stated that to interrupt the Mafia monopoly on heroin provides, which have been bought in Harlem and Newark by black sellers, he flew to Thailand and met Leslie Atkinson, often called Ike, a North Carolinian married to considered one of Mr. Lucas’s cousins. He stated that Mr. Atkinson, who ran a Bangkok bar and bought medicine to black troopers, agreed to assist.

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